When the Boss Says, ‘We Can’t Keep You’: How Does This Affect Your Citizenship?
Are you worried about how losing your job may affect your US citizenship? Whether you’re a permanent resident working towards citizenship, or you already have your green card, losing your job can be a particularly stressful time. Try not to worry, as we’re going to explain both scenarios in detail below:
If You’re a Permanent Resident Who Lost His Job
We’ll start by imagining that you’re a permanent resident looking to eventually gain US citizenship. Losing your job is a daunting experience for anyone, but even more so when you’re worried you might have to leave the country. Being unemployed for any considerable length of time could lead to bad debt and even bankruptcy, so what will happen to your chances of US citizenship?
According to nolo.com, you shouldn’t have to worry just yet: “The real question isn’t whether you’re a “loser” (and if you are, so are millions of US citizens also unfortunate enough to have lost their jobs), but whether you have the “good moral character” required to become a naturalized US citizen. Financial problems alone are not a bar to this finding of good moral character.”
Now, there are certain automatic bars that are applied to US immigration law when determining a “good moral character”, such as whether you’ve carried out certain crimes, for example. However, as for what actually makes a good moral character, the law tends to say more about what DOESN’T, than specifics about what does. This does not include things such as unemployment, debt, or bankruptcy, which can often be out of someone’s control.
So, as long as you haven’t committed any crimes and have paid your taxes, it’s really up to the USCIS officer who decides your case to determine whether you have a “good moral character” as an upstanding US citizen.
If You’re a US Citizen Who Lost Her Job
If you’ve already obtained your green card, losing your job will not affect your naturalization as a US citizen, nor does claiming for unemployment, assuming you are eligible.
According to avvo.com: “Being sponsored ensures that you do not become a public charge. Unemployment is not one of those benefits. Therefore if you qualify for unemployment (worked there long enough and were terminated without cause), you should be eligible for unemployment. It does not impact your citizenship.”
TIP: If you’re unsure about your grounds of termination, and whether you could be eligible for receiving unemployment, we recommend seeking professional advice.
Still Worried about What Could Affect Your Citizenship?
Losing your job can be stressful, but the thought of losing your citizenship can cause sleepless nights. By enlisting the help of an immigration lawyer, you’ll learn the proper next steps to take to ensure that you can keep your US citizenship.
At VisaPlace, we have helped thousands of people over the years sort out their immigration issues, and we have handled every kind of case imaginable. Getting started is easy. Contact us to speak to one of our US immigration experts, and let us help to keep you on track.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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